UC Davis Assistant Professor Nathan Brown has demanded the immediate resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi following an incident where police pepper sprayed peaceful student protesters who are lined up and seated on the ground.
In an open letter to Katehi, Brown claims to have seen police hold the mouths of students open while aiming pepper spray down their throats. Several students were reportedly hospitalized. See Police Lt. John Pike boldly and nonchalantly douse students in the face in this video which has already gone viral.
The video has an eerie moment of ‘execution style’ pulsation emanating from the brazen, sadistic act of the police lieutenant, no doubt, emboldened by similar incidents of violation across the United States whereby police have not yet been called into any accountability for physical attacks on citizen protesters.
Brown, a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association and Assistant Professor in the Department of English, as well as a teacher in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies, says in his letter to Chancellor Katehi calling for her immediate resignation:
“Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.
What happened next?
Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
This is what happened. You are responsible for it.”
Students at UC Davis were joining in solidarity against the violence by police wielded upon students at recent UC Berkeley protests. Another lengthy video of the incident claims “cops body slam, spray protestors and draw out weapons.”
“You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.
Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students. I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students. And I want you to know that this is clear. It is clear to anyone who reads your campus emails concerning our “Principles of Community” and who also takes the time to inform themselves about your actions. You should bear in mind that when you send emails to the UC Davis community, you address a body of faculty and students who are well trained to see through rhetoric that evinces care for students while implicitly threatening them. I see through your rhetoric very clearly. You also write to a campus community that knows how to speak truth to power. That is what I am doing.
I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.”
I agree with Professor Brown, who also notes in his letter the hypocrisy expressed through a recent correspondence on student safety the Chancellor sent out. How is it that nobody is accountable in these atrocities? Because nobody has died yet or because mace doesn’t ‘kill?’
Professors at UC Davis need to get behind Professor Brown and the students who were victimized in this assault on their rights and physicality. As a colleague from afar, equally concerned about the safety of my students on campus and the protection of their inalienable rights, I join Professor Nathan Brown in his call for the rule at UC Davis to end for Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, and her servant who is not the servant of the people of Davis or the campus of University of California at Davis, Police Lt. John Pike, to resign immediately.
NOTE: More than 5,000 people have signed this online petition to remove Chancellor Katehi as unfit for her privileged university position as a consequence of her sanction of these events.